Several laminated signs and a little police authority was all it took to end the late-night gatherings at a parking lot by Belfast Common, according to one neighbor.

Andy Stevenson, who lives on Union Street across from the parking lot, was among three residents who appealed to the council last month to do something about groups of young people hanging out across the street, skateboarding and socializing into the wee hours of the morning.

The council responded by closing the lot at 9 p.m. — indicated by signs posted at the entrances — and ordering police to enforce the new rule. Stevenson said the gatherings stopped almost immediately.

"Which has been noticed and appreciated by all of the residents there," he said.

Awaiting state's marijuana rules

The council approved a first reading to extend a city-wide marijuana moratorium for another 180 days. The moratorium was first enacted in January to prevent applications for new retail marijuana stores or "social clubs" while the state is establishing rules for these businesses, which were legalized in Maine by the 2016 referendum.

The moratorium extends to Dec. 31. The state has until February 2018 to enact regulations to implement the 2016 Marijuana Legalization Act.

City Planner Wayne Marshall said the city's moratorium doesn't affect personal use of marijuana as governed by state law. Nor does it stake a position on the drug, he said.

"This is not saying people are in favor or opposed," he said. "This is just taking a break."

In other business, the council:

Raised ambulance fees in an attempt to be consistent with other communities. Belfast last raised its rates in 2013. The amounts recommended by the city's collection agency and supported by Belfast Rescue were based on a survey of those in Augusta, Falmouth, Gardiner, Boothbay, Auburn and York.

Appointed John Downs to the Airport Advisory Committee; promoted Harbor Committee alternate Joanne Moesswilde to full member and appointed Gerald Grant alternate; appointed Jessica Falconer to the Pedestrian Hiking and Biking Committee but left one vacancy after councilors Neal Harkness and Mary Mortier voiced disapproval for a second applicant, David August, based on answers he gave in his interview.